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Black Friday less of a draw: What this means for retailers

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Black Friday used to be the major kickoff of the holiday shopping season. However, in recent years, big-box retailers have started these sales on Thanksgiving, offering other seasonal deals in the weeks leading up to the holiday weekend. This has made Thanksgiving into the fastest growing online shopping day of the season as shoppers are no longer waiting for Cyber Monday.

Consulting firm Deloitte released new survey data last week that reflected the change in the attitudes and habits of consumers. Compared to last year, fewer people count on these traditional kick-off events. While this might seem like bad news for retailers, there are actually quite a few advantages that could come from this new information.

Physical stores have struggled in the past with keeping up with inventory during these events, leading to many products being out of stock and a loss in potential profits. With customers spreading out their visits to brick-and-mortar stores, the stores are more likely to be able to replenish stock, keep their stores clean, and shorten checkout lines. This increase in the quality of experience could ultimately lead to a lift in sales. For Web retailers, this could make it easier to ship orders in a timely fashion, something that has been an issue to achieve in the past.

There still remains a challenge from one of Deloitte’s findings: 44% of consumers plan to do the majority of their shopping in December and January, up 7% from 2013. If shoppers wait, this could cause logistical issues for companies like UPS and FedEx, who people rely on for delivering packages by Christmas Day.

I personally think that it makes sense that people are planning on waiting longer to buy their gifts. When stores began starting their sales on Thanksgiving, I know that many of my friends and family were upset. While people are stakeholders in the retail industry and want to have products available in the holiday season, there is also a line that should be drawn where these stores should have respect for the family time that typically happens at this time of year. If someone desperately needs to go out and get the cheapest TV that they know will only be in stock for the first hour of a sale, this may cut into time that they would instead be spending making memories with their families. To me, it makes the company seem as if it is only caring about the profit margins, not upholding a value system that would be appreciated by many customers.

Original Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/11/04/the-challenge-and-opportunity-for-retailers-as-black-friday-becomes-less-of-a-draw/

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